Legal Geek of the Week – Data Solver

Until this week, the Legal Geek team have been busy preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation by knitting ourselves thick woolly pullovers ahead of the nuclear winter which will accompany GDPR’s introduction on 25th May next year.

It was therefore a bitter sweet experience – particularly as our pullover had reached well beyond the shoulders stage –  to sit down with the team at Data Solver and hear that GDPR need not constitute the end of the world as we know it.

But if we were guilty of over-imagining the consequences of the introduction of GDPR on the legal industry, we weren’t the only ones.

Whilst the consensus around GDPR is that it will represent a seismic shift worldwide for data management, archiving and protection; it need not involve businesses moving heaven and earth to be compliant, according to Claire Banwell Spencer and Vinay Nagaraju, Co-Founders of tech start-up Data Solver, this week’s Legal Geeks of the Week.

Data Solver’s mission is to simplify the complexity of GDPR by providing clients with “Privacy Management modules” which facilitates compliance. Data Solver’s five software modules cover Privacy Impact Assessment, Right to Access Processing, Privacy Asset Register, Archive Management and Breach Management.

The software is configurable to an organisation’s profile whilst being web-hosted, avoiding the onerous process of on-boarding.

For such a complex topic as GDPR, Data Solver’s software solutions seem remarkably uncomplicated. CEO Claire Banwell Spencer, a dual-qualified Barrister and Solicitor, with 16 years’ experience, explains that this is by very deliberate design:

“Before studying for an MBA I worked for Knight Square as Group Head of Compliance and was heavily involved in change management. I led our search for a new system to help the company handle and process its data better but I could only find eight separate systems, there was no way of tying together all these areas we wanted to improve into one hub. The market was selling in silos. The idea for developing a software which could offer a single interface came from that discovery.”

Since that seed was planted in Claire’s mind, Data Solver’s journey to market has been relatively straight forward. After leaving Knight Square in 2015 to complete an MBA at Cranfield School of Management, Claire met co-founder Vinay – an Electronics and Communications Engineer, and travel entrepreneur – during their MBA and the start-up activities at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship.

The concept for Data Solver came together towards the end of their MBA and they received £15,000 investment from the university to develop a minimum viable product.

After developing an MVP, the duo have spent the past year developing their technology – whilst raising £250,000 in angel investment.

With their product soon to go to market, Claire and Vinay’s business relationship is clearly flourishing – yet it has seen some unlikely turns along the way, including Vinay being hijacked by four armed bandits in Zambia.

They later transpired to be (very) plain-clothed policemen, but it was an undoubtedly a scary moment which led Vinay to call Claire as his first point of contact afterwards.

Vinay explained: “After that we knew that not only did we share a lot of natural synergy in business but there was a strong bond based on trust between us. Nothing we’ve encountered since has been as challenging as what appeared to be an armed hijacking!”

As complex as GDPR might be, it doesn’t come bearing arms and it will be fascinating to see to what extent the market agrees with Claire and Vinay’s approach for simplifying GDPR when Data Solver’s platforms are launched on the open market in November.

What we know now is that Claire and Vinay are very much turning heads in the legal tech industry.